When Lone Star Taco Bar opened its second outpost in East Cambridge in July, it merged the original Lone Star's menu with a beverage program worth traveling for, like Deep Ellum's.
Roving drinker Luke O'Neil digs it in a new piece in Metro — including "[maybe] the only beer cocktail I’ve ever enjoyed." That is a straightforward concoction of tequila, Campari, lime, and Stone Go To IPA. Other standouts for O'Neil include the "bright, fresh, lightly bitter" Chica Facil, made with tequila, Aperol, lime, agave, and chartreuse; and Por mi Amante, a house-made, traditional Mexican infusion of strawberries and mescal.
As he discussed in an April installment of The Pour, co-owner and beverage director Max Toste envisioned a German beer garden inside the new Mexican cantina, and more than half the beer list is German or a German-style. He also upped the funky wine game, with a rose on draft as well as others by the glass and bottles, and orange wines and sherry.
Kenmore Square's new Parisian restaurant Josephine takes traditional dishes "and zaps them with bibbidi bobbidi boo," writes the Boston Globe critic Devra First in a two-star (out of four) review. Inspired by first-time restaurateur Samuel Gosselin's dining experiences around the world, the menu by chef Stefano Quaresima (Petit Robert South End) has "newfound passion."
Mussels are served shucked in a "heady," lemongrass, coconut, and red curry broth. Risotto printanier is "earthy with mushrooms" and also features purple cauliflower, blossoms, lotus chips, and a "citrusy dust that looks like pollen." And it's cooked perfectly, First writes. Many plates follow tradition in recipes, but not in execution, such as a selection of "excellent" pates "arranged at angles to one another on a square white plate decorated with dots and lines and sprinkles of various accompaniments."
Not everything works: A lobster dish has "plenty of tender meat" but also a confusing shot as an accompaniment and a "pilaf-esque concoction ... laden with undercooked beans." Another entree comes with a smoothie shot that perplexes, and First's server unhelpfully says most people don't like it. "Josephine isn’t perfect, but the restaurant Parisien has passion and a point of view."
Gin U Dee Thai Kitchen in Stoneham opened this spring from the son of the proprietors of Rod Dee, a Boston-area favorite with four locations from Brookline to Cambridge. The Globe's Catherine Smart finds some classic Rod Dee dishes with a huge plus: Gin U accepts credit cards.
Som tum, classic papaya salad, is mild for the spice lovers at Smart's table, yet refreshing. Pork pad kra pao is "hiccup-inducing," on the other hand. Thai basil, lime, rice, and lettuce leaves "tame the fire." Pan-fried noodles with duck is also mild, but "seems to get more savory with every bite."
While Smart took advantage of icy smoothies on recent, warm-weather visits, she notes steamed beef and beef-tendon noodle soup will be "restorative" for the cold months coming soon.
Finally, Improper Bostonian critic MC Slim JB found "a fascinating old fusion of African, Caribbean, native and Western European influences" at The Frogmore, executed "with real feeling" by chef Jason Albus.
Pork n’ beans, "tiny, al dente petite rouge beans and a slab of crisp molasses-glazed pork belly ... kicks the ass of its mushy, cloying New England cousin." Grilled okra could make for a "conversion moment for the okra-averse." Succotash, with a deep smoke flavor from smoked corn and more in a rich, ham broth, is "astonishing." Pork chops are only saved from dryness by "terrific" accompaniments. Soups "dazzle with richness and complexity," especially the "sophisticated chowder" she-crab soup. Order the hush puppies over the cornbread.
Desserts are satisfying, and the cordial-based original cocktail list is creative. The draft list "should satisfy JP’s avid beer-nerd contingent," and by-the-bottle wines are "nicely priced." Overall, The Frogmore is "genuine Southern food and hospitality, served without winking or air quotes."